Hungary dreams of power and relies on batteries in “electric cars”.  At any price

A large “airport-sized” investment is being built near Debrecen. Construction of the largest electric car battery production plant in Europe has begun near the border with Romania.

Implementing a project worth US$7.8 billion. It is managed by the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. Ltd. In cooperation with the German company Mercedes-Benz AG. This plant is expected to have a positive impact on Hungary in the future due to the green transition in Europe. “Nowhere in the world is battery production growing faster per capita than Hungary,” Bloomberg points out.

Environmental protection and “electricity”

Not everyone in Hungary is happy with the government’s plans, which are described as “the largest foreign direct investment in the country’s history.” Especially since two other plants are being built right next to it – the Chinese company EVE Energy Co. Ltd. and BMW AG.

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It’s about protecting the environment. Activists fear that farmers will lose their prime land. In addition, there is concern about water quality in the area. Residents also wondered how to dispose of used batteries. “Even in the strongholds of Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party, officials have been described as ‘traitors,’” Bloomberg reported. In response, regulations have been changed — now there is no need to consult the population.

No one asked us if we wanted this bet – said Zoltan Timar, mayor of Mekpercs, a suburb of Debrecen, in an interview with the agency. In his opinion, citizens are afraid of dangerous materials that may be produced during the production of batteries.

“Orban goes all the way”

The largest news agency in the world believes that “Viktor Orban will go to the end.” Within a few years, Hungary will become second only to China, the United States and Germany in terms of battery production volume.

Bloomberg notes that “Hungary currently has six battery factories already in production or under construction. In addition, there are about twenty other companies that are part of the production chain.”

The first factory was built in 2017 near a residential project. Tenants complained about noise and possible water contamination. The government did not care about residents’ complaints. Ultimately, the investment was greater.

Two years later, the opposition seized power in the region and promised to investigate the matter. The response of the government in Budapest was decisive, redistributing tax revenues from the Judd Factory’s commercial activity to the surrounding areas.

“Electricity” and power in the country

Some, like Juliana Lam Bala of Jude mentioned above, are fed up. A woman moved after she regularly smelled “rotten fish” from her home’s taps. However, she had no evidence that this was the result of the factory’s activities. No one from the government listened to her anyway.

Therefore, NGOs took matters into their own hands. They themselves conducted tests that showed that lithium had been detected in tap water in 19 provinces. However, these quantities do not pose a threat to human life and health. while N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, or NMP, the most popular solvent for producing battery cathodes, was found in the wells..

Battery factories are quickly becoming a defining feature of the Hungarian economy, but also a political choice. It is consistent with Orbán’s goal of linking East with West in the hope that beneficial companies will work to keep him in power, explains Andrea Eltito, a researcher at the Institute of World Economy in Budapest, in an interview with Bloomberg.

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